28 Nov

New security tools help to seal the cloud – Sprocket Networks

Computing is now cloud based! Cloud computing is basically the delivery of storage and computing ability or capacity to a group of end-users.  However, with this kind of arrangement there come a lot of risks to the data that is transferred amongst the various points. Since there is risk of data manipulation, vandalizing and even theft, there is need of setting up of functional and effective data security centers. Such data security centers need to take up the latest and most advanced security tools to help seal the gaps that may exist in the cloud.

However, it is not all data security tools that work well with the cloud computing providers. Some vendors have taken up the responsibility to come up with their own security tools to curb the insecurity experienced in cloud computing. There are even some vendors that don’t allow you as the user to manage your cloud whether internal or external as a single unit. Such vendors don’t let you allocate additional security systems under the operating system. Here you will have to trust your cloud vendor’s security level. You may also choose to stick with a private cloud within your own firewall or you can even create an external environment using your own network at an external site hence keeping storage under your control.

A public cloud will require your attention pertaining to components like the load balancers, network firewall and network address translation that will hide the public internet protocol address that your provider will assign your server. It does not matter the model you choose, whether Software as a Services (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS) or Platform as a Service(PaaS), the automatic and consistent processes needed for cloud deployment improve security as well as increase reliability, efficiency and performance.

The use of data security tools to help tackle threats on data at the various data security centers are categorized according to the level of security. These categories include SOA, XML and Application Security. There are also categories like encryption tool for data whether in transit or at rest, smart key management, identity and access management, log management and virtual firewalls as well as other virtualization tools, data loss prevention. This is basically introducing available security structures into the cloud hence various tools will be needed depending on the cloud layers. However, some tools already exist.

In the SaaS layer, all applications by the provider usually run on cloud infrastructure and are entirely accessed over a web browser. In this case you will not be able to manage the servers, networks, operating systems, individual applications and storage. It is therefore up to the vendor to secure the platform.

The PaaS Layer on the other hand allows you to create application using the many programming languages and tools offered by the vendor. You can then deploy these applications into the cloud infrastructure. Here, security issues involving the management APIs like authorization, auditing and authentication should be put into consideration by the user.

With IaaS you will have fewer options when it comes to security capability integration beyond infrastructure protection. However, there is a lot of extensibility. This means that it is up to the user to ensure that they manage and secure all operating systems, content and applications usually through API.

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21 Nov

What cloud computing really means

There are certain names given to things that tell you exactly what that thing is or does without explanation.  The term “cloud computing” has become a buzzword that projects a lot of meaning…or no meaning at all.  You see, the trouble with a buzzword is that it can be misleading and ambiguous – giving the computer layman/novice/techno-idiot a false sense of security.  Wouldn’t you kill for a chance to hear someone give you a straightforward, honest, non-technical answer to the question, “What does cloud computing really mean?”

Cloud Computing for Dummies

Here is the definition from Dummies.com on their “Cloud Computing” page:

“Cloud computing has four essential characteristics: elasticity and the ability to scale up and down, self-service provisioning and automatic deprovisioning, application programming interfaces (APIs), billing and metering of service usage in a pay-as-you-go model. ….This flexibility is what is attracting individuals and businesses to move to the cloud.”

Blah, blah, blah!

I read this definition to my 82 year-old Mother who understands the basics of email and Skype but has trouble transferring photographs from her digital camera to her computer.  I got a blank stare.  Then I asked my son, a computer science college student and employee of Apple, Inc., to explain it in the simplest terms possible so that his Grandmother would get it…he failed.

I Googled the phrase “simple cloud explanation” and found my search was like searching for the Holy Grail.   Why is it so difficult to use plain English to inform and educate people about the computer world without resorting to jargon and hyperbole? Today, I’ve decided, I’m going to imagine that I’ve met an alien from another planet and he inquired about cloud computing.  Here is what I might tell him.

The “Cloud”

The term “cloud” refers, essentially, to a service that is delivered to a customer via the Internet.  More specifically, the cloud is where a service is delivered (i.e., email services like Gmail and Yahoo) to customers who do not own the hardware (“the mechanical, electronic… devices comprising a computer system, as the CPU, disk drives, keyboard, or screen.”) or software (“Programs used to direct the operation of a computer…”) that provides the services to them.  In other words, one rents or leases the services and has them delivered through the Internet to their personal computer or server (“Provides and organizes access to these resources for other computers linked to it.”) remotely.

Cloud + Computing

Cloud computing involves multiple numbers of computers, hardware, software and servers to give customers what they need remotely without the customers actually having to own or run the hardware or software themselves.  Some other examples of computing in the cloud that you are likely to be using everyday are:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Netflix

Netflix and YouTube are perfect examples of computing in the cloud; millions of people simultaneous streaming, uploading video files and downloading movies onto their computers, laptops or TVs without having to purchase additional software or hardware.

Cloudy With a Chance of….

The beauty of computing in the cloud is that computers can be added or removed without disturbing the operation of the cloud and the user doesn’t need to know a thing about computer technology in order to take advantage of it.  Large corporations like Amazon and Google have decided to move away from the traditional way they manage their operations and data and have moved up to the cloud.  Cloud computing is at one’s disposal whether you are sitting at your desk at home or carrying your laptop halfway across the world…the cloud is always hanging over your head.  Simple?

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14 Nov

What is cloud computing?

There is a lot of buzz circulating around the Internet and offline about “cloud computing,” with most big tech companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon all switching over to cloud services and referencing that most of their data is “in the cloud.” So, what does it all exactly mean? What is cloud computing and how can it help us in the future? And, why should you care about the importance of cloud services?

Where did cloud computing come from?

Whether you believe it or not, the idea of using computing in the cloud originated way back in the 1960s. You know when you’re drawing all of those old school diagrams to convey ideas at meetings and use “cloud” symbols? Well, that’s essentially where the idea of cloud services came about, as scientists wanted to make sharing data easier and more convenient.

However, it wouldn’t be until 2006 during a conference about search engines that the term “cloud computing” would be mentioned and Google’s Eric Schmidt making the term popular with mainstream media. Beforehand, it wasn’t known as cloud technology while companies like Amazon and Salesforce were investing in the infrastructure.

Since then, major technology companies and newly funded start-ups alike have started to build cloud infrastructure to make sharing data across different computing platforms easier, computer storage faster and bigger, as well as many other tech services better overall. Today, the cloud has become ubiquitous in standard online usage, making it a powerful force in the current economy.

What does cloud computing do?

Essentially, it helps store and transfer data in a more convenient fashion. The National Institute of Standards and Technology writes about cloud technology as being a service for “…[E]nabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources…” This includes networks, servers, and even applications.

If you use predominately Apple products right now, you’re probably familiar with their iCloud service. This is a type of cloud service which allows you to access all of your files and data from all of your devices via the Internet or other connectivity services. Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and many other technology companies provide the same services, too. In fact, Google has developed a laptop that works exclusively with their cloud technology called the Chromebook!

Simply, cloud technology takes out the need for lots of bulky, expensive hardware that would normally connect devices and data together. Instead, cloud services use a collective source of computers and the Internet (similar to hosting services), allowing us to allot resources elsewhere.

Why should I care about cloud services?

Cloud computing is integral to the future of technology and many other industries because of how inexpensive and convenient it is. Smaller budgets can utilize the cloud to make sure they’re staying up to speed with competitors and don’t have to invest in huge pieces of equipment in the long run. Cloud services are also becoming increasingly safer and faster, making older methods near obsolete. This ultimately means most businesses will have to adapt to cloud technology altogether eventually.

Who is creating the future of cloud computing?

As corny as it sounds, you are creating its future! Businesses looking to update their tech infrastructure and stay competitive are creating the demand for more cloud services. Also, you have probably started to hear a lot of talk about big data and its importance for businesses with lots of customer and company data.

Cloud computing plays a major role in big data because it helps lessen the expenses and allows for all sorts of companies to invest in big data analytics and management. As time progresses, cloud technology will only become more advance and budget friendly.

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07 Nov

Data Center And Security – How Sprocket Networks Can Help

Sprocket Networks is a provider of various information hosting models and services with esteemed clients around the globe for Data Center Security . The key services offered are Shared and Managed Services, Virtual Private Servers, Cloud Based Hosting, Dedicate server hosting and Collocation.  Today’s business runs on information technology to enable communication and to increase the data storage capacity of the entire network.  The networks not only contains workstations but many other storage facilities, involves huge volume of data transfer and other technical components.

Data Center Security  Colocation service from Sprocket Networks  provides centralized operation of network hardware in secure and private data center. Sprocket Networks have various server hosting plans.  A dedicated data center with spaces for equipments and sufficient transactional bandwidth is available on the network. The Data Center Security  Colocation services low cost complex techniques for providing physical security for server, power and cooling services.

Sprocket Networks Data Center Security dedicated server hosting service offers networks with very high performance. These types of service are used by websites that have a higher volume of user traffic. Dedicated server hosting providers make use of extreme security measures to ensure the safety of data residing on the servers. The level of management implemented on dedicated server hosting depends on the services provided.

The Cloud Based Hosting plans from Sprocket Network Data Center Security service blends Cloud Computing Infrastructure with zero downtime.  All the hardware involved are fully redundant. During any failure, the nodes will automatically switch to the spare hardware configured, which is available for fail over.  Many different versions of operating systems and network configurations  are made available for Cloud Based Hosting service. The gap between shared web hosting and dedicated web hosting services is bridged by the use of virtual private servers. The cost involved is also less when compared with dedicated server hosting.

Sprocket Networks Data Center Security shared hosting service offers portioned space for many clients for data storage on the same server. The partition separates each client’s data from one another. This is the most preferred form of hosting service from Sprocket Networks Data Center Security  services as the cost involved in data hosting is shared by several clients together. A wide range of extendable features usually forms the part of the hosting plan.

The managed services from Sprocket Networks helps customers to focus on core business. The overhead of managing network related services is managed by an expert team from Sprocket Networks Data Center Security. Customized services are offered to all clients which ensures optimized operations values on investment made.  Business will be benefitted with scalable network performance.  With the help of direct team of experts, all network related issues can be cleared immediately. A proactive mode of network monitoring strategy thus helps to resolve issues without affecting the daily operations.

Having an inexperienced team to handle IT Services can lead to many performance issues within the network. Sprocket Networks Data Center Security  services provides business with the right systems, and solutions architecture from the inception phase. This helps to negate unexpected interruptions that can create business distractions.

Sprocket Networks service level agreement ensures the business operations are not affected with any network downtime. With the service-credits,  Sprocket Networks Data Center Security services assure network availability round the clock.  Sprocket Networks partners with IT infrastructure to ensure cost-effective data center security service availability for the business.

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05 Nov

SAS70 compared to SSAE16

SSAE16 has replaced SAS70 as the official audit standard for companies in the service industry. It is important for CIOs to learn how the new standard is different from SAS70 to enable the organization to function effectively. In this article, we’ll take a look at the core differences between the two.

Brief Overview of SAS70

SAS70 was created by the American Institute of CPAs nearly 20 years ago. It was an approach that service providers use with their customers. There was SAS70 Type 1 and SAS70 Type 2 audit. The former assesses the sufficiency of control available in service companies as of a particular date while the latter looks into the effectiveness of the control. In essence, the Type 1 audit determines if the company has property designed their controls to meet the requirement standard. The Type 2 audit tests the controls to see if they are really working.

If your organization uses third-party services, it is highly likely that it is heavily reliant on SAS70 Type 2 reports. It determines whether your company is complying with industry standards and it also helps the company improve governance standards. CIOs incorporated the audit reports in all IT contracts under vendor management to meet compliance requirements.

Brief Overview of the SSAE16

The SSAE16 is the new standard for service organizations. It contains a variety of improvements from the SAS70 Type 2 reports. Similar to its predecessor, the SSAE16 will be used when an organization outsources a task or function which has results that should be included in the financial statement. Its structure provides a lot of benefits to CIOs and IT service firms.

In addition, SSAE16 also has broader application compared to the SAS70 reports. For example, it can be used by data center companies, IT outsourcing firms, managed enterprises, cloud hosting providers and payroll providers among others.

Main Differences between SAS70 and SSAE16

  • Attestation vs. Audit – the examination of service providers is now considered an “attest” activity rather than just of an “audit” activity.
  • System vs. Control – in the SAS70, service providers must only look into the “controls”. With the SSAE16, they must address the entire system.
  • Time Period – in SSAE16 Type 2, an auditor’s opinion must cover a specific timeframe rather than just looking at a specific date.
  • Sub-Organizations – the service providers that depend on sub-contractors must address the issues of their own service providers. This ensures that the entire “system” complies with the standards.
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